Build Your Community, Stop Begging for One

by Seth

Recently I house sat a small dog named Louis (Looey) for a couple of weeks.  He was an incredibly well trained dog that never once made a mess on the floor, ruined my furniture, scratched my door, or barked all night.

By the end of the week I realized that Louis was a one in a million kind of dog.  He waited until I took him out to go the bathroom, he was ready when I put him to bed, and the best part is that he never begged.

Now what I learned from Louis can help everyone with their blogging.  Except for what was absolutely necessary Louis, strangely enough, was a self-sufficient dog.

Stop Begging for Hand-Outs

Depending on other bloggers that are bigger than you to drop you  scraps from their over-abundant plates is one of the biggest signs of failed blogging.

Instead of sitting by and waiting for someone with lots of traffic, a high-pagerank, and more than the average amount of generosity to graciously link, tweet, or stumble your blog, do it yourself.  You have to get out there in the blogosphere and stop begging for someone else to get your goals for you.

Imagine how different the world would be if we each lived out our own dreams and stopped being an imposter in someone else’s. @prosperbydesign

To break down how we depend on big bloggers for everything I would like to take a look at the sources of traffic for your blog.  I am sure you know your statistics because if you are anything like me you wake up, get on the computer and either shout “Hurray!” or put your head down gloomily in shame all based on the numbers.

Evaluating this data, how much of the traffic came from efforts you made to bring it their?  Where you the one kicking everyone’s trash by producing a new product?  Did you come out with an incredible resource?  Did you manually submit your best content to social media like Digg, Stumbleupon and Delicious?  Or are you taking an active role in Twitter.  Maybe you say yes to the social bookmarking but are not sure about the other questions.  I am not trying to tell you that referrals are bad in any way.  In fact they are the best form of traffic!

The point I am getting at is whether the traffic you now have is because at some point, some blogger, some where found your content and liked it enough to link to it.  Or is it because you were out making the most of your time and really promoting it.

If you are like a lot of bloggers I am sure you do not like promotion.  It’s long and can be tedious to build backlinks, comment, and do “regular” begging to the bigger bloggers.  So let me fill you in on what you can do to drastically alter your traffic.

How to Increase Your Traffic

The key to building your own traffic is providing something worth networking for.  I mean the big bloggers will come to you if you have something they need or want to share with their readers.

They will come begging to you if you put the time into coming up with the right product and strategy for marketing it.

For example, Blogussion has seen incredible traffic recently due to lots of promotional efforts being made.  We are now reaching our once lofty expectations for pageviews, length of visits, and subscribers.

Most importantly we worked for it.  Building excellent content was the first step.  We provided something for our visitors to both enjoy and learn from.

Next we got people outside of our own blog administration pages to actually look at it!  This is how we did it.

  1. 2 Guest Posts at Problogger in the same week.
  2. Stumbling Articles as they are published.
  3. (BIG) Stumbling older posts in our archives which could easily go viral!
  4. Emailing a few of our fellow Bloggers to Stumble our posts as well.
  5. Commenting on a VARIETY of blogs both in and outside our niche
  6. Emailing bloggers to collaborate on future projects
  7. Helping our current subscribers and commentators with personal questions and responses.
  8. Guest posts every week somewhere!
  9. Developing our Twitter profiles to maximize exposure through sincere tweets, honest RT’s and lots of real @replies.
  10. Helping Big bloggers when they are busy by asking them what we can do for them… occasionally its with a guest post!

Old Dogs Can Learn New Tricks

If you are still wondering if you can do this, just know that it is completely possible.  All the things we are doing are so easy to do when you actually sit down and do them.

Another great way to help is by building a community of smaller to medium sized blogs.  Start paying attention to the needs of other bloggers you know.  Help them with a guest post, link to one of their stellar articles, email with a useful link to an article you know they need for a future project, and of course tweets, stumbles and diggs!

If everyone starts going out of their way to do things for others, they’ll notice a pattern that will start working for them too!  People like helping people that help them (confusing enough :) ).  So to start it out right, start subscribing to others stumbles by going to their profiles, adding them as followers, and subscribing to their blogs.

After doing this you will find a very well respected and helpful community that is starting to be built all around you.  So stop begging, and start building the blog you want to have.

Time for Action

To get things started right now, here is a list of things you can do before your leave this page to build a community around you. We wont do this very often (for fear of spammers), but its a great way to build your community.  Just make sure to be BRIEF:

  1. Put a brief description of your blog (1-2 sentences) in the comments below.  Let us all know what your blog is about.  You don’t need to link to it because commentluv does that for you.
  2. Let others know your favorite social media site
  3. Tell everyone how you can help them.
  4. Tell us how we can help you.
  5. Determine to help someone on the comment list every day until you have completed the list.  After some time you will have made a lot of friends and built some good traffic.

Here is an example for you to follow:

1. Blogussion is a resource for bloggers to get targeted blogging tips, tricks and design help.
2. StumbleUpon
3. Email with an honest critique of your current blogging
4. Stumble this post!

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